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Number of migrants claiming asylum in EU passes 750,000

The number of migrants who have claimed asylum in Europe so far this year has now passed three-quarters of a million.

Official figures show that as of last month at least 750,210 main applicants and any dependants had applied for protection in the EU's 28 member states.

The true total will be much higher as only a small number of countries have registered data for September with the EU's statistics agency.

In a fresh indication of the extraordinary scale of the international migrant crisis, the number of asylum applicants and family members registered in the bloc in the first nine months is now well over 100,000 higher than for the whole of 2014.

It is also already the largest tally for any calendar year since comparable records began in 2008.

The figures, compiled by Eurostat, also show that Germany received claims covering 43,065 asylum seekers in September alone - the highest number since the emergency started.

Britain has not yet supplied figures for August or September.

It emerged last month that the number of people claiming asylum in the UK reached its highest monthly level for more than six years in July.

Claims covering a total of 4,305 main applicants and any dependants were lodged in the UK, provisional data published by Eurostat revealed.

It was the highest tally in any single month since comparable records started in January 2009. The Government does not publish its own monthly data, instead using quarterly figures because they are considered "more robust".

There were 25,771 asylum claims lodged by main applicants in the year ending June 2015, according to the most recent Home Office figures. This was an increase of a tenth compared to the previous year, but well below the peak number of more than 84,000 in 2002.

Britain is taking 20,000 Syrians from camps around the war-ravaged country over the next five years and has committed more than £1 billion in aid. The first refugees to come under the expanded resettlement scheme arrived last month.

However, the Government has faced criticism over its response to what has been described as the largest humanitarian refugee crisis in Europe since the Second World War.

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